Interview: Phil Hassey on Bringing Real-time Risk Galcon Fusion to Mac



I’m a long-time fan of territory games. Civilization sucked me in on the Amiga and its sequel appealed on the Mac. For quicker games in a similar vein, various Risk clones for the Mac (such as iConquer) once took up numerous tiny chunks of my day. But when I discovered Galcon for iPhone, the others vanished. Here was a crazy real-time Risk/stripped-down Civ, with brutally fast gameplay and land-grabbing. In single-player mode, it was compelling, and against online opposition, a joy.

Creator Phil Hassey announced this week Galcon Fusion for desktop platforms. A semi-sequel to Classic Galcon and incorporating modes and ideas from Galcon Labs for iPhone, Galcon Fusion is available for $9.99 from

I caught up with Phil to find out more about his game, cross-platform development, and why iPhone Galcon fans should take a risk on the desktop game.

Cult of Mac: For anyone unfamiliar with Galcon games, how would you describe Galcon Fusion?
Phil Hassey: Galcon Fusion is an awesome high-paced multi-player galactic arcade-strategy game. Send swarms of ships to defeat enemy planets and conquer the universe! It plays out the game of Risk in real-time.

What does Galcon Fusion offer over ‘Classic Galcon’?
Galcon Fusion adds all the alternate gameplay modes that were developed for the iPhone versions of Galcon. It also brings the graphics and music up to 2010 specs, supporting HD widescreen visuals. And, actually, since it is similar, users who bought ‘Classic Galcon’ for the desktop have been given a free upgrade to Galcon Fusion.

Galcon Fusion’s for Mac, PC and Linux. How important was it for you to create a game that could be played across all platforms?
Pretty important to me! I do all my development under Linux under VMware Fusion on a MacBook Pro. I really appreciate the open source community, and I think having my games run under Linux is at least one more way I can give to that community. I’ve also found that the Mac community is great too, and since Galcon did so well as an iPhone game, I think it would be silly to release a desktop version without supporting the many Mac users who might want it.

What will tempt fans of iPhone Galcon to the Mac version?
It’s really a different gaming experience altogether. I think the desktop version gives users a way to interact more with people via chat and longer games. The core game mechanics are the same, but the feel of it is unique to the desktop. An iPhone battle can be a matter of seconds, but a desktop battle is more epic in that games last for minutes!

What was the thinking behind the retro mode?
When I was about ten years old I played an MS-DOS PC game called “Galactic Conquest” which sported graphics almost like the ones in retro mode. I thought it would be fun to include that as an option in the new version of Galcon, mostly for my own entertainment. Really, it hasn’t been the most popular mode in the game, but I think it’s cool to give people a flavor of the history of Galcon. One notable difference though: the original “Galactic Conquest” was a turn-based game; the retro mode I include is really just an alternative way to look at “Galcon Fusion” so it retains all the swarms of ships and real-time gameplay.

What’s the future for Galcon?
I don’t know for sure, but I’ve got a feeling it might show up on the iPad in the near future!